Entrapment at the bus stop.

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Entrapment at the bus stop.

A story recently appeared in the news sphere that has disturbed me deeply.  A mother and her three children in Marietta, Georgia, arrived at the bus stop across the street from their apartment.  While crossing the street, her four year-old child was hit and killed by a car.  The man who killed her child, Jerry Guy, served six months in jail and is on five years of probation.

But, she was charged with and convicted of second-degree vehicular homicide — because she was jaywalking. You can see the full story below.

I believe this case illustrates the entrapment the city uses against the underprivileged.  Read below for my argument.

For the moment, we will put aside a few of the facts.  The man who killed A.J. Nelson had been drinking and was on pain medications.  He was partially blind in one eye.  The accident happened at night. This was his third hit-and-run accident.   The jury who convicted her was not a jury of her peers: they all reported that they had never had to use public transportation or walk along a busy street.  But, forget about all of that for right now.

Let’s talk about the bus stop issues involved.

Raquel Nelson and her family had to cross a busy four-lane street to get to their apartment.  The nearest crosswalk was almost half a mile away and required that they cross other side streets that were not well-lit.  The preferred route is obvious.  However, prosecutors have insisted that passengers should ride to the nearest crosswalk before de-busing.  That’s what the city intended when it designed the transit system, right?

An understanding of how bus stops work is necessary.  With little exception, bus stops are always paired: one on each side of the street.  The most obvious reason for this is so that you can get off at your destination, no matter the direction of travel.  But, is this what the city had in mind when designing the system?  Or did they expect their passengers to ride to the nearest crosswalk and cross there?  Let’s investigate.

I, too, live in a set of apartments along a busy boulevard — six lanes separate me from my couch at the end of the day.  I gathered images from around my home to share with you.

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Let go of time.

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Let go of time.

A lot of people choose not to ride the bus because of the exorbitant amount of time it takes to get from Point A to Point B.  There’s no argument from me.  A trip that should take 30 minutes easily takes two hours.  This sometimes really bothers me.

However, recently, I’ve started coming to a startling conclusion.  I’ve begun to appreciate the delays.  Even if it’s just a little tiny bit, and in fleeting moments.

Maybe it’s a stereotype, but I think Americans are way too obsessed about time.  We’re controlling about where every minute of the day — conscious or unconscious — goes.  We’ve become obsessive-compulsive about it.  A delay of 10 minutes in line at McDonalds unacceptable.  It’s infuriating.  It causes annoyance, conflict, stress, anger, aggression, rage.  And yet, it’s only 10 minutes!

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That’s pretty hardcore.

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That’s pretty hardcore.
A picture of my feet in sandals, with the tracks in the background.

Some would say, my best feature.

I was sitting on the train.  An older man with a bike and tattoos was standing next to me, looking at me out of the corner of his eye.  I was wearing the shoes shown in the picture above.

In an excited voice, he asked me, “You got tats on your feet?”

“Mmm…. Nope… those are just my shoes…”

Stay out of the meat aisle.

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Stay out of the meat aisle.

Many of you are undoubtedly unaware of this, but if you are a man, public transportation can serve a double purpose.  It’s your meat market, too.

For some reason, being in the system is a free pass to evade all social norms regarding standard male-female interactions.  It suddenly becomes appropriate to shout crude things at women, honk horns, offer rides to strangers, and ogle.  I am selected, cut, wrapped, and sold on nearly a daily basis.

Here are a few tips to the ladies to stay out of the freezer:

Meat on a barbecue.

Who put Barbie on the barbie??

  1. Forget tight clothing.  Don’t even bother wearing clothes that fit at all.  Stick to baggy attire, leave the belts at home.  If you have leftover maternity-wear, try that.
  2. Wear your hair up.  Even better, just shave it all off.
  3. Use make-up appropriately.  Cosmetics don’t just have to be for looking beautiful.  Use eye shadow on other parts of your face to make you appear dirty.  Lip stick can be used to resemble open wounds.  I recommend acquiring a small Halloween face paint kit and getting creative!
  4. Don’t make eye contact.  In fact, just pretend you are blind.  And deaf.  And mute.
  5. Learn an exotic language.  Sometimes it’s best to just pretend you don’t speak English.  Take care to not accidentally speak to a native speaker of that language!

Ok, perhaps this post would better serve the male population.  How to interact with women while using public transport: Read the rest of this entry

Few teeth, plenty of advice.

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I deviated from my normal bus route and took a dive into a seedy part of town to do an interview for class.  Many of you already know that I am Dysnavic: a word I invented to describe my complete and utter lack of ability to navigate my way out of a paper bag.  To accommodate for my disability, I brought several hard-copies of my route, an iPod with photographs of the map, and had memorized every square inch of it.  There was no way I would get lost.

As I approached the bus stop, a chunky old man missing most of his front teeth greeted me, invited me to sit in the 3 inches remaining next to him on the bench, and asked me where I was going.

Toothless boy

Missing teeth is not always a bad thing.

“I’m taking the 11 down to Cedar Bluff.”

He looked at me like I was on crack.  “What business do you have down in Cedar Bluff?”

“I’ve got an appointment at the BCDG.”

“What’s that?”

At this point, I realized that this was not a conversation I had meant to get myself into.  Sharing details about public transportation destinations with strangers is not always the safest idea.  I needed to send anti-social vibes quickly.  “I have no idea.”

“What are you going to do there?”

“I don’t know.”

Though these answers seemed pretty deflective to me, they didn’t phase him one bit.

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